SnoCountry's Best Midwest Resorts For Fat Tire Snow Biking
Fat tire snow biking, popular at western and eastern ski resorts, has been gaining traction in the Midwest recently. Several ski resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota are now offering rentals and trails to ride.
Michigan’s Crystal Mountain was the first Heartland resort to offer fat tire snow biking four years ago. They provide six kilometers of packed trails on property and connect to the DNR Betsie River Pathway for another five miles of forested trails. It’s the most trails offered for winter groomed fat tire biking in the Midwest. The trails are open daily and bikes rent for one hour $15 and two hours $25 per person.
Boyne Highlands was the next resort to start offering fat tire snow biking four years ago. They have six kilometers of groomed trails that are open daily. Bike rentals, which include a helmet, are $30 for two hours, $50 for six hours and $80 if you want it for the day. A daily trail pass is $5.
Boyne Mountain has also jumped aboard fat tire snow biking and offers five kilometers of groomed trail. Open daily from 9 a.m-8 p.m., you can even get a little bit of biking in under the lights. Another trail is under construction. The rates are the same as at the Highlands and also include a helmet.
Treetops, the newest Michigan resort to offer the sport, started last season. They allow riding on groomed cross country trails when conditions permit. Reservations are required, and bikes rent for $15 for an hour and $50 for all day. The cost includes a helmet, map and bike lock.
Minnesota’s Giants Ridge has 60 kilometers of beautifully groomed Nordic trails that traverse Superior National Forest along the Gopher State’s Iron Range, and fat tire snow bikes are allowed on the trails. The roller coaster trails can be challenging, or just go for a mellow ride in the woods. Three kilometers are lit for night use. The bikes rent for $40 for four hours or less and $75 for a day. A trail pass, also required, is $15 daily.
Spirit Mountain, overlooking Duluth and Lake Superior, has a little twist on their offering of fat tire snow biking. They allow lift served, downhill winter fat biking every Sunday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is $39 if you purchase your ticket online, and $48 at the window, if available. They limit the number of bikes on the slope, and it’s proving to be popular. No rentals, so you have to bring your own fat tire snow bike, and they check your tire width.
Photos: Top -- Crystal Mountain was first on the fat tire scene in Midwest (Crystal Mt.); Left -- Spirit Mountain offers terrain but you bring your bikes (Spirit Mt./Facebook); Right -- Giants Ridge uses groomed Nordic trails and National Forest land for fat tire biking (Giants Ridge); Below: Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain both offer fat tire biking (Boyne Highlands)